Wednesday, October 31, 2012
90 Devotions for Kids is a great devotional for not just kids but the entire family. The lessons are written in easy to understand words for a wide range of ages, and I liked the conversational tone throughout the book. It is full of scripture, and I especially liked the daily challenges. This is a well-written and well laid-out devotional that is easy to incorporate into your daily routine.
*Disclosure: I received this book free of charge from Tyndale Media House in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.
Tuesday, October 30, 2012
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
ABOUT THE BOOK
As she struggles to reconcile her right to happiness amidst the destruction, Abigail begins piecing together a patchwork quilt from the salvaged fabric in hopes it will bring some peace. But a new relationship with Justin, a contractor, may require too much of her fragile heart. Will her pain and questions of faith give way to the courage to love?
If you would like to read the first chapter of Beyond the Storm, go HERE.
Thursday, October 25, 2012
Samson's Classroom is an online learning website for grades K-5, focusing on sight words, spelling, and reading. With Dyslexia, Chad struggles in these areas and we have found that online games definitely help him progress.
Samson's Classroom. He enjoys all the games, and will actually keep going back until he gets every single answer correct! There is a demo video you can watch to learn more about the program.
Samson's Classroom is affordable at only $30 for a one-year membership for one student, or $50 for one year for up to four students. There are also school memberships available. Pricing information is available here.
Our experience with Samson's Classroom was a positive one. All of the games were a hit, and he is really learning a lot while playing them. The Reading section was more advanced for Chad, and he could not do it himself. I would help him read the passages, and then he would answer the questions himself. There are lots of resources, including lesson plans and worksheets, on the website. As a parent, you can always check what your child has been doing and how successful they are. Kids also see for themselves what they have mastered, which is very motivating for my child. You can try Samson's Classroom out for yourself by playing demo versions of the games! For more Crew reviews, click the banner below:
*Disclosure: I received a free membership to Samson's Classroom in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
I’m imagining you. You walk past as I water my front flowerbeds and we wave. You check the time as we both stand in a long line at the grocery store. You sit in front of me in church. I’m at my table in the coffee shop and you’re at yours.
We may smile politely and move on with our separate lives. Or one of us may speak, a simple invitation to conversation, and the words flow between us.
Here the adventure begins. When we meet someone new, we never know where it might lead.
I’ve been married for over thirty years and have two twenty-something kids. We live in stunning Colorado at the foot of the Rockies, where the day lilies in my back yard grow as tall as I am. (No short jokes, please.)
Not every piece of my life is pretty, though. Some days I want to throw out whole chunks. But I am living each day looking for the grace of God to me, in me, and through me. Having your companionship along the way will help uncover a lot of great stories.
Thanks for stopping by my site, where conversations and adventures begin with a click. I hope we’ll run into each other often.
ABOUT THE BOOK
If you would like to read the first chapter of Accidentally Amish, go HERE.
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Saturday, October 20, 2012
Book Description: "Fall in love with this cozy story about two people from different worlds.
Franny Martin is an Oklahoma farm girl who’s preparing to spend the holidays alone…again. Then Charlie Landau shows up one day, all wealth and polish, and offers to buy Franny’s farm. Franny has no money to speak of, but she is clever and spirited, and she’s more than happy to sell the farm and move to the city.
As Sinatra croons from the radio and Christmas descends upon her charming farm, Franny teaches Charlie the curious and sometimes comical ways of country life. In the process, they unearth some discoveries of the heart—that sometimes love comes when you’re least ready for it. Will the holidays bring their most impossible dreams within reach?"
My Thoughts: A Merry Little Christmas by Anita Higman is a sweet, enjoyable story. It's not an edge of your seat, can't put it down type of book, but just right for when you want an interesting, warm story. That doesn't mean there aren't serious issues addressed in the book- racism in the 1960s is part of the story. I enjoyed reading about farm life, and about two people from completely different types of lives coming together for a common goal, and discovering their feelings for each other.
Purchase a copy here.
To go to the A Merry Little Christmas Blog Tour Landing page, with even more information and reviews, click here.
Author Anita Higman invites readers to kick off the season with a spirited holiday tale. Anita is spreading the Christmas cheer by giving away FIFTEEN COPIES of the book. To enter to win A Merry Little Christmas, just head over to THE CONTEST PAGE at Anita's website and fill out the short form. Be sure to put BLOG CONTEST in the Subject Line. That's it. Winners will be announced on the Litfuse blog (and notified by email) on 11/9.
*Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from Litfuse in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.
Thursday, October 18, 2012
Influenster for several months now, and they just relaunched their website.
If you choose to become a member, you give opinions of products and experiences. Influenster creates links between brands and members to reward participation and influence future products.
As a member, you earn Badges by completing various tasks such as taking surveys, writing reviews, creating videos, and engaging in other social media.
In return, you get exclusive discounts on products and services based on the badges you earn. You’ll also have the chance to get invites to Influenster programs so you can try out new products before anyone else! You have to be active to increase your chance at receiving rewards.
I've had a great experience with Influenster, and really enjoyed my VoxBox full of goodies I got a few months back! Go to their website, www.influenster.com, to check out this fun program for yourself!
As my oldest kids begin entering the adult world, I worry about their futures. Its hard to survive out there these days, and prices are only rising. Being in debt has become the norm, and its not what I want for my kids. With my daughter Alyssa (17) recently getting her first job (besides babysitting), I thought reviewing WealthQuest for Teens was a great fit for our family.
For just $39.95, you will receive the WealthQuest for Teens Seminar Package: Online Video/Workbook Basic Seminar, Quickstart Guide for Teens ebook, Parents Guide e-book, and link to moneytrail.net. This is a great value for an entire financial program. There are seven modules to go through in the video section, and the lessons are short and include questions to answer right then while you are watching. The workbook for teens has 30 days of activities/questions to answer. It took Alyssa only about 10 minutes each day to do the workbook. The entire program is designed to be a six-week course, but you can adjust that to your needs.
Teacher Jill Suskind created the program in 2008 to prepare teens to meet the financial realities of adulthood with confidence and competence.
What We Thought: I thought WealthQuest was a good, solid program for teens and was a good value. Alyssa said she learned a lot, and is excited about becoming a better saver! She did not like that you couldn't rewind the videos, and her favorite part of the program was the Silo System. I feel that she learned a lot, and would highly suggest this program to parents of teens.
To read more Crew Reviews of WealthQuest for Teens, click the banner:
*Disclosure: I received this product free in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.
Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
It's clear to anyone who reads this blog that I love anything Amish, especially Amish fiction. Cindy Woodsmall is one of my favorite authors-she is definitely in my top 5 favorites. When I read my first book of hers, I was immediately hooked and quickly read everything she had out at the time. The way she writes just draws you in immediately, and her characters are so real you feel like you know them personally!
Needless to say, I was very excited about her new series debuting-the name of the series is Amish Vines and Orchards, and A Season for Tending is the first book. Ms. Woodsmall is wonderful with writing series-sometimes you find subsequent books in a series not as good as the first, but not here.
A Season for Tending is the story of Rhoda Byler, a young woman who is Old Order Amish. Rhoda has a strange gift of foreseeing future events-not something that is accepted in her community. She is treated as an outsider, and there are people, Amish and 'Englisch', who are even afraid of her. Rhoda also has a wonderful talent of gardening-herbs and berries are her specialty, and she has quite a business selling her bounty.
In another Old Order community, the King family is struggling to keep their apple orchard profitable. Their lives intersect with Rhoda, and all of their families' lives change. This is a book about trusting in God, and following His will for your life.
I devoured this book in a few days, and now I have the painful wait for the second book in the series, The Winnowing Season! In the meantime, I plan to try out some of the yummy apple recipes that were at the end of A Season for Tending! Trust me-you have to read this book, you won't be disappointed!!
*Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from Waterbrook Multnomah in exchange for my honest review.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
I live in Tulsa, though I was born in Mississippi. I moved to the Sooner State when I was seventeen and met my soul mate and best friend not long after. I’ve retained a little of my Mississippi accent though most people think I’m from Texas. (?) Rob and I have been married for over twenty years and have a son–a mom proclaimed prodigy, of course!
I love homemade tacos, shoes, and romance novels–not necessarily in that order. I’m a big fan of country music, a staunch proponent of saving the Oxford comma, and I’m shamefully obsessed with all things Harry Potter.
I believe that God is love. I guess that’s why I adore romances.
I have always been intrigued with the Amish culture, their gentle ways and slower-paced lifestyle. (And I love, love, love the fact that they stay married for their lifetime.) But until recently I never thought to blend this interest with my penchant for romance. Okay, okay, I’m a bit old-fashioned and even enjoy the gender roles that are present in this culture. I love to cook and take care of my family. Yes, that’s me June Cleaver with a laptop.
I dislike people trying to convince me to read the Twlight series (I’ll get to it or I won’t, either way I’m good with it), gratuitous violence, and strawberry ice cream. (I know I’m alone on this last one, and again, I’m good with it.)
Favorite movies–(besides HP) French Kiss, Maid of Honor, A Lot Like Love, Just Married, and Sweet Home Alabama. Oh, and Miss Congeniality, Sabrina (both versions) and a 1940′s movie called Dear Ruth. If you haven’t seen it, you should! A-dorable. Anything with Doris Day and most all of Marilyn’s and Audrey’s.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Dallas socialite Avery Ann Hamilton is intrigued by the Amish farmer who pulls her out of the snow and into his austere lifestyle. Poor little rich girl, Avery has just gone through (yet another) bad breakup. Every man she meets only wants her for her father’s money. All she has ever wanted is to be loved for herself. Avery soon discovers the Oklahoma Amish country is the perfect place to hide out and heal her broken heart.
But she finds a peace in those back roads that she’s never felt before. Now her life has purpose and meaning as she connects with God and those around her. And there’s something more as she begins to care for this man who needs both love and forgiveness.
Gideon never wanted to live again much less fall in love, but Avery finds her way into his heart, showing him the beauty of life and God’s greatness. Yet as the feelings between Avery and Gideon grow, can they overcome their dissimilar lifestyles, or will their sheer differences pull them apart? If you would like to read the first chapter of Saving Gideon, go HERE
What I thought: I enjoyed Saving Gideon-I had never read anything by Amy Lillard before. The story flowed along nicely, showing the differences between the two cultures and how they come together with help from God.
Disclosure: I received this book free of charge in exchange for my review.
Thursday, October 11, 2012
Life with Lily is a delightful book for 8-12 year olds by Mary Ann Kinsinger and Suzanne Woods Fisher. I've always enjoyed Suzanne Woods Fisher's books, and Mary Ann Kinsinger was raised old-order Amish, so she brings first-hand experience to the story!
I read the book myself-my daughter is 17(she would have loved it years ago), and my youngest son is not quite at this reading level. I do think he will enjoy reading it within the next few years. Life with Lily is a sweet story about a lively little Amish girl. The sentences are not too long and complicated, perfect for this age range. The story was exciting and fun. I think this will be a great series for kids!
About the Book: Lily is six in this story, just starting first grade in a one-room schoolhouse in upstate New York. Her parents are busy building a farm, and soon animals join the family—Jenny the cow and Chubby the miniature horse. A baby brother arrives, too, which Lily has mixed feelings about. (She wanted a sister!) Aside from a mischievous friend like Mandy Mast, Lily is happy at school and even happier at home.
Trouble is brewing at the schoolhouse and change is on the horizon for Lily and her family.
“Based upon Kinsinger’s own childhood, it’s reminiscent of the Little House on the Prairie books.” —Romantic Times
To read the an excerpt click here. You can also purchase your own copy of Life with Lily on Amazon. For more information on the book, authors, and to watch a trailer, go to the Litfuse website. You can also go to the Adventures of Lily Lapp website, with lots of fun things to do.
Celebrate with Suzanne and Mary Ann by entering their contest and RSVPing to the “Life with Lily” Facebook Author Chat Party on 10/16!
Two fortunate winners will receive:
- Either the new Kindle Fire or new Nook HD
- Signed copy of Life with Lily for you and a young reader in your life.
So grab your copy of Life with Lily and join Suzanne and Mary Ann on the evening of the October 16th for a chance to connect with the authors and make some new friends. (If you haven’t read the books – don’t let that stop you from coming!)
Don't miss a moment of the fun, RSVP today. Tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 16th!
*Disclosure: I received this book in exchange for my honest review.
Tuesday, October 9, 2012
If you've read any of my past Schoolhouse Crew Reviews, you already know Chad (9) loves computer games, especially those where you choose an avatar and earn some sort of coin/token to spend on the website. Chad also loves animals. So, that being said, Chad was a happy camper to help me review ZooWhiz , a fun online learning website!
ZooWhiz covers math, punctuation, spelling, grammar, vocabulary, word skills, phonics, phonemics and reading for ages 5-15. You can choose Australian/British or American spellings and units of measurement and currency. The voice speaking to your child has an australian accent, which a few times caused Chad to not understand what was being said, but otherwise he loved the accent. Also fun were the encouraging words they used to praise him-'Crackerjack!' was his favorite! You set the age range your child is working at in each subject, so you are in control of what they are learning.
Above is the map that shows the different things kids can do on ZooWhiz. Learn and Earn is where they complete educational activities and are rewarded with coins. They can spend those coins at the Arcade (fun games!) or purchasing a new animal in the Biodome. There are lots of animals to choose from, and you can learn all about your animal too. In Milestones, kids can see all sorts of charts on how they are progressing. You can also create a free Parent Management Account to track your child's progress. I was impressed with how thorough the progress reporting is.
ZooWhiz was a big hit at our house. You can go to their website to learn more-there is a ton of information about the program (including videos) there. You can set up a free Keeper Account, or for only $14.95 a year you can purchase a Premium Zookeeper Account! That is an incredible price at 75% savings for only a limited time! It is definitely worth it-the free account is fun, but there is much more available with the premium account.
When I asked Chad his thoughts on ZooWhiz, he said his favorite things about the website were buying the animals and the Arcade, and he thinks it would be fun for all kids. I like that it is educational, but he is having fun learning! To read more reviews, click on the banner:
Disclosure: I recieved a membership to ZooWhiz free of charge in exchange for my honest opinion.
I have a great new album to tell you about! "Hear Me" by Kyle Sherman is being released today, October 9th. I really enjoyed this album's soulful style. The lyrics were so full of meaning, my favorite being " The Greatest Tear". Click on the links below to learn more about this CD and artist!
About the Album:
Fort Worth-based singer-songwriter Kyle Sherman recently signed on as the flagship artist to brand new label RayLynn Records, an opportunity that presented itself during a time period when a record deal wasn't even on his radar.
"It's crazy how God works," Kyle says. 'Five years ago, I pushed pretty hard to do my own thing as a singer-songwriter, but every well I approached would dry up. It clearly wasn't the right time." So Kyle continued on a path of leading worship, taking a full-time role as worship leader at Lifechurch.TV's Fort Worth campus under the leadership of renowned pastor/author Craig Groeschel.
Just 3-years later Kyle made it back to Nashville, pouring his heart into a microphone at Sony studio with veteran producer and country singer-songwriter Mark Collie making his first album. God is faithful. Hear Me, the result of those sessions, is an eclectic and authentic mix of rootsy, southern soul.
YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/RayLynnRecords
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
Saturday, October 6, 2012
When I found out I was going to have the chance to review makeup for the Schoolhouse Review Crew, I was so excited! I never imagined makeup would be something we would review. I love makeup-being home most of the time, I don't wear it daily, maybe a few times a week, but I enjoy wearing it when I do. I enjoy shopping for makeup-there is so much out there to choose from. In the past several years, I have used mineral makeup. It feels like you don't have makeup on at all, and it is better for your skin. I also think it is a more natural look.
Beeyoutiful is a company that makes products geared for healthy living. They have a wide range of products for your household, from essential oils to baking supplies, and more! Our crew was blessed to choose from a makeup kit or a skincare kit, and I chose the makeup kit. The makeup is from Beeyoutiful's Beeyoutiful Skin Mineral Makeup line. These minerals are all natural, and even gluten-free!
sample page and order samples for only $1. I think this is great, so you can try a color before you spend your money on a full-size container. When my makeup arrived, it was packaged beautifully.
Foundation in Felicity $25 for 4.92g
Eye color in Sea Sand and Russet Rose $10 each for .45g
Foundation brush $11
Combo brush $6.50
DVD and pamphlets
Now, we did not receive full-size amounts of the foundation and eye colors. But we received more than enough to use for several weeks-I am still using mine. The foundation is so fine and concentrated, and it was the perfect match to my skin. The foundation brush is heavenly-I am addicted to this brush, it is so silky and soft! The combo brush is a great multi-purpose brush for applying eye and/or lip color, or concealer. What is great about the eye colors, is that they can be used for eyes and lips! The Sea Sand I got was a great neutral for my eyelids, and the Russet Rose was pretty on my eyes, but I loved the way it looks on my lips:
We received a very informative DVD that explained application techniques, such as the FOIL technique. You can watch a video with the same information on the Beeyoutiful Skin website. I learned so much-I had never experimented with wetting my brush in my mineral makeup to make bolder colors, and I love the look! Another thing I will now be doing regularly is mixing my powder mineral foundation with my moisturizer-the coverage is so much better this way.
I really love Beeyoutiful Skin's Mineral Makeup. It is high-quality, looks great, and is a good bargain because it lasts so long. I'm looking forward to purchasing it when my samples run out, and I'm also interested in trying out some items from the Skin Care line. Be sure to check out all the different makeup available at the Beeyoutiful Skin website, and all of the other products for your well being at the regular Beeyoutiful website.
To read more reviews on the makeup and skin care from Beeyoutiful, click the banner:
*Disclosure: I received free products from Beeyoutiful in exchange for my honest review.
Thursday, October 4, 2012
Join authors Kim Ketola, Teske Drake and Dawn Scott Jones for an evening of encouraging chat about healing and hope for women on the evening of October 10th. The authors will join together for a Live Webcast Event to share their stories.
BUT … wait there’s more! Between 10/1 and 10/10 enter to win a brand-new iPad from Women Redeemed!
- iPad with Wi-Fi
- Cradle My Heart by Kim Ketola, Hope for Today, Promises for Tomorrow by Teske Drake and When a Woman You Loved Was Abused by Dawn Scott Jones
Don't miss a moment of the fun, RSVP today. Tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 10th!
Monday, October 1, 2012
Book Description: An unplanned pregnancy. An absent father. Can love really endure all things?
Danielle Kent is anything but Amish. But as destiny would have it, she has fallen in love with an Amish man.
Now she’s 18, pregnant, and hopeful that the child’s Amish father—Matthew Lapp—will do the right thing and marry her. She knows Matthew plans to leave his Colorado settlement for a life in the Englisch world. But that plan never included a baby.
When Matthew walks away from her and their unborn child, she has nowhere to turn. Her unlikely friendship with Levi offers some comfort—yet they have so little in common. This wasn’t the plan she had for her life, and she has never felt so alone. She doesn’t want to be pregnant. Doesn’t want to be Amish. Doesn’t want to trust God.
God has plans beyond what her mind can imagine . . . loving plans to show a lost young woman that His love never fails but endures forever.
My Thoughts: His Love Endures Forever is the third book in the Land of Canaan series by Beth Wiseman. I'm a big fan of this author, she is an amazing storyteller. I devoured the first two books in the series, Seek Me With All Your Heart and The Wonder of Your Love, and couldn't wait for this book to be published! Usually, it takes me a while to get 'into' a story, but every book by Beth Wiseman that I have read, including this one, engages me immediately and I read it in record time. The Colorado setting is different from most Amish fiction, and the characters are well developed. The theme of God's unending love for us, no matter what we do, is woven throughout the story. I believe you could read this book by itself without having read the first two, but I highly suggest reading the first two as well! His Love Endures Forever is a wonderful, heart-warming book.
Disclosure: I received this book free from Booksneeze in exchange for my honest review.
Book Description: Amy Knackstedt hopes a new start in Weaverly, Kansas, will help heal the pain of losing her husband and provide a better future for her children. But her neighbor, Tim Roper, is not pleased to have a Mennonite family living next to his apple orchard—he left the Mennonite faith years ago and doesn’t want any reminders of his former life. Yet Amy and Tim find their paths colliding far more often than either could have foreseen. Will this tentative relationship blossom into something more?
My Thoughts: I've enjoyed Kim Vogel Sawyer's books in the past, but I think When Hope Blossoms has to be my favorite book authored by her. Reading about the Mennonite community was an interesting change from my usual old-order Amish fiction. Some heavy subjects were dealt with in this book, and it was so full of emotion. The characters were deep and real, and I didn't want the book to end! To learn more about author Kim Vogel Sawyer and her books, go to her website.
Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from Bethany House in exchange for my honest review.